Santo Iolo: “Summer, sea flavors and unusual wine pairings”
It is definitely a trend and if you really want to be trendy and fashionable, next time you have friends over, you may want to surprise them pairing a good red wine with fish! This unusual pairing was a hot topic at this past Vinitaly Wine Show in Verona: new dedicated books have been published and we expect to hear more on TV soon. Let’s be ready for this “new wave” and we, at Santo Iolo, would like to look into this phenomenon.
If we are considering a delicate fish, a soft, white fish meat perhaps steamed or boiled there is no doubt, a light white would be best choice! However if we are thinking of a recipe made with a structured tasty fish, a fish with a persistent flavor then it is an all different picture.
Our amazing Mediterranean Cousin is often made of tasty fish soups, mullets or rockfish using tomato in the recipe; we may be preparing a good, thick tuna fish or sward fish steak, or a sauce with sea urchins, or some yummy stuffed calamari or simply enjoying a very rustic salt cod. All mentioned dishes are reach in flavors and aromas and are often rather salty or at least with a good level of savouriness. With all these great dishes a smooth red wine with a good persistent palate would be the perfect pairing: you will still enjoy the taste of the food and the wine will not be “covered” by those flavors. Also most of the above mentioned dishes are usually well dressed with good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the red wine will help clean your mouth, its alcohol and tannins will match perfectly.
So the ideal wine to pair with such tasty, reach dishes, will have to be nice and smooth, persistent and with soft tannins. It needs to be a red wine! Wines made from the so called “international varietals” can play a big role in this “unusual pairing”, in fact they can be served at a slightly cooler temperature, say 54/57 °F and the result will be extremely enjoyable!
So let’s figure that a good bottle of Rossoiolo is ready in the fridge waiting to be poured for this “palate test”. Let’s try a byte of your “robust” tasty fish dish, lean on its taste and then indulge in a sip of Rossoiolo. Sense it. What is your mouth feeling?
If your “mouth psychophysical lab” is pervaded first with a feeling of harmony, where food and wine taste melt with no sharp contrast, and then you get a feeling of clean mouth that makes you ready for a second byte it means you did the right pairing! We hope you will now feel more confident to experiment with your favorite fish dishes paired with red wine (no doubt we recommend Rossoiolo for your “experiments”!) and remember there are no rules for your senses: simply enjoy the freedom of experimenting new taste combinations!